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Revisit the iconic moment David Bowie performed ‘Wake Up’ live with Arcade Fire

Taking a trip back into the Far Out Magazine archives, we’ve managed to dig out an absolute gem from 2005 when David Bowie performed live with Arcade Fire.

Bowie, well known for collaborating with his fellow colleagues, ended his post-heart attack hiatus to join the stage with the Canadian band for renditions of ‘Wake Up’ and ‘Five Years’ as part of the New York’s Fashion Rocks event.

The collaboration came after months of discussion, Bowie claiming that he unearthed Win Butler and Co.: “I discovered (Arcade Fire) a year ago,” Bowie said before the show. “Coldplay’s Chris Martin has been saying he’s discovered them first, but I did. So there. Na na na na na!” he added jokingly.

In what started as musical admiration in 2004, Bowies’ relationship with Arcade fire grew in the years that followed and, in 2013, teamed up again and helped work on the band’s fourth studio Reflektor: “He offered to lend us his services because he really liked the song,” band member Richard Reed Parry told NME. “In fact, he basically threatened us – he was like, ‘If you don’t hurry up and mix this song, I might just steal it from you!’ So we thought, well why don’t we go one better, why don’t you sing on our version? Thankfully he obliged, and we were really happy about that.”

Bow often joked about the positive impact he would have on those around him and, when speaking to Livewire in 2002, the Thin White Duke said: “I believe that I often bring out the best in somebody’s talents. To not be modest about it, you’ll find that with only a couple of exceptions, most of the musicians that I’ve worked with have done their best work by far with me. 

He added: “I can shine a light on their own strengths.”

While Bowie was semi-joking about his impact on the musicians he worked with, Arcade Fire have always been 100% serious when crediting him as a major impact on their lives: “David Bowie was one of the band’s earliest supporters and champions. He not only created the world that made it possible for our band to exist, he welcomed us into it with grace and warmth,” the band once said upon hearing that Bowie had passed away.

“We will take to the grave the moments we shared; talking, playing music and collaborating as some of the most profound and memorable moments of our lives.

“A true artist even in his passing, the world is more bright and mysterious because of him and we will continue to shout prayers into the atmosphere he created.”

One of those moments the band shared with Bowie, the momentous live show in 2005, is available to stream below:

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